Entrance upgrades at Green Haven approved

Despite opposition from the mayor, Anoka City Council approved plans for a $725,000 project to enhance the entrances at Green Haven Golf Club.

Mayor Phil Rice was the lone vote against the project, which will go under construction this summer.

The project features upgrades to the upper and lower entrances of the building, along with landscaping improvements.

This includes the addition of a permanent canopy, windows and stone pillars.

The renovations will make it obvious for those attending the golf club for banquets and gatherings to use the upper entrance.

Rice’s concerns were about the high price of the project, which some other councilmembers agreed was expensive.

“I just have such a hard time putting stone on the exterior of the building and an entrance canopy and some windows costing the equivalent of a luxury home,” Rice said. “I just don’t get it. It just doesn’t add up. I’d really like someone to convince me that we are getting value for each dollar we are spending, or I would like to look at ways to significantly reduce the cost of the project before I would support it.”

Councilmember Steve Schmidt acknowledged that the project is not a necessity, but it finishes a job the city started several years ago with the improvements made along West Main Street and then last year’s $1 million improvement to Greenhaven Road and the golf club’s parking lot.

“It is not a need  it is something that enhances and completes what we already started,” Schmidt said.

The project had originally been included in last year’s street and parking lot improvements, but eventually was taken out of the project and delayed until 2014.

In that original estimate, the city had planned to spend $150,000 on entrance upgrades.

Councilmember Mark Freeburg said he supports the project, despite his desire for the city to focus more of its spending on road repair.

“One of my goals this year is to quit spending so much money and quit doing projects like this, but I want to wrap up unfinished projects and get them finished,” Freeburg said.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver agreed.

“I’m not a golfer, so when I go out to Green Haven, it’s not to go golfing,” Weaver said. “But I see the change of venue that’s starting to happen out there with more events and more meetings, and I think that entrance is going to tell a lot about what’s going on there.”

The city will go out for bids on the project and is expected to award a construction contact in April.

According to Finance Director Lori Yager, the work will be paid for out of the city’s building fund. Anoka is selling property to Volunteers of America and will use that return on its investment to pay for the entrance upgrades.

Last year there was also a transfer from the general fund to help offset the cost.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]